You Are NOT Your Hormones

BY THE CONFIDENCE CO -

Oftentimes when we feel out of whack for one reason or another, there is something bigger at play. Whether you're a little moody, suffering from PMS, or you're experiencing a pesky breakout, you may be inclined to blame hormones. And while your hormone levels could be the culprit of your out-of-whackness, have you ever wondered why? 

We have. And we're eager to get to the bottom of it. 

In this article we cover all things hormones. Learn what they are, why they matter, causes for imbalances, what you can do to re-balance your body, and of course how hormones impact the gut. Let's dive in!

 

What (exactly) are hormones?

You can think of them as messengers on a mission. According to the Cleveland Clinic, "hormones are chemicals that coordinate different functions in your body by carrying messages through your blood to your organs, skin, muscles and other tissues." Hormones are an essential part of living a healthy, long life. 

Our friends at Veracity tell us that, "hormones control everything from your metabolism and development to reproduction and your response to stress." So yes, they are kind of a big deal.

 

Why do hormones matter?

The signals, or messages that hormones coordinate, tell various systems in your body what to do and when to do it. In fact, scientists have now identified over 50 hormones in the human body (and still counting). The tissues and glands that both produce and release hormones is the endocrine system and it controls key bodily functions such as metabolism, sexual function and reproduction, sleep, growth, homeostasis (or internal balance), energy levels, and mood.

Ultimately, everything we do in our day-to-day life relies on the functionality of hormones. This is why maintain balanced hormones level is so crucial (more in this topic below).

The gut hormones

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract, starting from your mouth to your anus, is primarily responsible for digestion and creates hormones such as ghrelin, somatostatin, glucagon-like peptide. Your gut contains more than 100 trillion friendly bacteria, that produce various metabolites that can affect your hormonal health in both positive and negative ways.

Most interestingly, a recent study by UCLA suggests that 90% of the body's serotonin—the happy chemical—is produced in the gut. This neurotransmitter is a natural mood stabilizing hormone that regulates our anxiety, happiness and mood. Why is Serotonin such an important hormone to keep balanced? It impacts nearly every function of the body, from your emotions to your motor skills. It’s the also the chemical is responsible for stimulating the parts of the brain helping us sleep, eat, and digest. 

 

What is a hormonal imbalance and what causes it?

A hormonal imbalance happens when your body has too much or too little of a hormone. Know that an "imbalance" is a very broad term that encapsulates a number of hormonal-health issues.

Throughout your life, even throughout a single day, your hormone levels will change. We all experience a natural rise and fall that is perfectly healthy. However, there are a few key periods in our life where your hormones may fluctuate in a big way such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Outside of these naturally occurring time periods, there are some other causes of hormonal imbalances such as stress, medications and medical treatments, and the use of steroids. 

Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance

There are an array of symptoms causes by hormonal imbalances, everything from weight gain to hair loss. According to the Cleveland Clinic, here are the most common hormone-related conditions: 

  • Irregular menstruation
  • Infertility
  • Acne
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disease
  • Obesity

How to balance your hormones

If you're experiencing that out-of-whackness, know that there are steps you can take. Here are five tips: 


1. Practice Stress-Relief

Too much cortisol, known as the "stress hormone" spikes your blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Keep cortisol at bay by taking an active step to decrease the stress in your life. We recommend taking a yoga class, guided meditation, or some deep breathing exercises. 

2. Rest Well & Rest Often

Not getting enough sleep may throw hormones out of balance including insulin, cortisol, and ghrelin. Prioritize getting enough sleep (8 hours is ideal) each night. Set a night time reminder on your phone, keep your room cool and dark, and avoid looking at any type of screen for at least 15 minutes before you get some shut eye. 

3. Eat Healthy Fats Over Saturated Fats

Saturated fats that are found in some animal fat, butter, full-fat dairy, palm oil and coconut oil, may disrupt dopamine (another happy hormone) message coordination when consumed in big quantities. Keep your hormones balanced by incorporating healthy fats, such as MCTs or omega-3s rather than saturated. You can find healthy fats in salmon, whole eggs, chia seeds, and extra virgin olive oil.

4. Get Moving

Getting enough regular exercise is a great way to balance (and boost) your endorphin levels, helping you stay in a better mood. Exercise doesn't have to be all hard work, make it fun! Take a 15 minute dance break in your bedroom, jump rope outside with your kids, or go for a jog or walk in your favorite neighborhood park.

5. Supplement with a Digestive Enzyme 

Since your gut is a producer of hormones, it's no wonder that maintaining a healthy gut will help keep your hormones balanced. To improve your digestive system's health, supplement with an all-natural digestive enzyme before each meal. Our enzymes help your body do the work of breaking down each morsel of food so that you get more nutrients from every meal you eat.

 

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